What is this?

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Caleb Fidecaro

Oct 30, 2010, 11:36:04 PM10/30/10
to Better School Websites
School websites suck. They don't have to.

One day I read this: http://sixrevisions.com/web_design/public-school-websites-dont-have-to-suck/
and was inspired, as apparently were a few other people. I don't
really have all the skill necessary to solve the problem, but I do
have the enthusiasm and the ability to create this group :P

In the comments of that article, I suggested:

"I think a group of like minded people could build quite a robust
solution using wordpress 3.1 and an extensible plugin, ala BuddyPress.
There is a wealth of freely available templates available, its very
easy for novices to use and learn (as opposed to drupal et al) and
most of the core components are already there.

"The solution could even have a hosted version at some point, making
it a one-click setup.

"I’m quite inspired by this article to be a part of such a group of
people. If anyone is interest in discussing further, I am reachable at
calebfidecaro [at] gmail [dot] com. Perhaps if there’s interest I’ll
set up a google group."

A couple other people seemed interested, and offered their services in
different ways.

So I guess the question for anyone who visits this is: "What is this?"


Oct 31, 2010, 9:56:02 AM10/31/10
to Better School Websites
What is this? As I see it, it's an outreach effort to the Web design
community to come together around helping schools create and maintain
well-constructed, beautiful, and manageable Web sites. I wrote the
article Caleb cites, and I work with a school Web site every day. It
can be so much better.

Jacob Gube made a tremendously generous offer to design and host, pro
bono, a site for a deserving school. He also talked about using the
design to create a fully-developed WP template to provide for other
schools. It's a great idea. I'd love to see more designers get on
board with this.

So the first thing, I'd guess, is to spread the word. Here's the
shortened version of this Google Group for faster Tweeting and


I've already made some preliminary overtures to a number of folks, and
have received some strong, if preliminary :) positive feedback. Let's
get this ball rolling, people. The kids deserve better than they have.


Oct 31, 2010, 10:05:05 AM10/31/10
to Better School Websites
I'm reposting Jacob Gube's original offer here:

This article moved me.

So much so that I would like to offer up pro-bono work to an
interested U.S. public school site (excluding colleges, of course).

If you are a decision-maker in your elementary/middle/high school and
think that these issues apply to you, I would like to personally work
on your site pro-bono.

I will provide the following:
Custom design, W3C-standards-compliant markup
Custom WordPress (as a CMS) deployment with multi-admin/multi-author
capabilities (so that each staff member can have their own account)
Free hosting on a VPS that will handle moderate traffic well. For at
least five years

The site I would like to build for you will comply with governmental
regulations for equal access to technology (Section 508).

If there are many interested schools, I’ll pick the school in most

Having worked with IT and education (in a state college level), I know
it’s not that easy and there’s a lot of red tape; it’s simply not a
matter of “want” but also ability and getting the right people to sign
off. However, if you’re a decision-maker, I’d love to chat with you
about this (my contact information can be found here).

I’m available to do this between now and January 2011. Afterwards, we
may need to push your project further down 2011.

EDIT: I didn’t see Caleb Fidecaro’s comment above. Looks like he’s got
the same idea as me. You’ve now got two options.

EDIT 2: I didn’t mean to limit my offer to high schools only.
Elementary school and middle school sites welcome as well.

EDIT 3: It might or might not matter depending on your school’s IT
policy, but the VPS will be located in the continental U.S.


Oct 31, 2010, 7:09:34 PM10/31/10
to Better School Websites
Ashraf, Michael, welcome aboard. It's not really my group, but I'm not
averse to playing Welcome Wagon or Wal-Mart greeter, whatever metaphor
works. :)

If anyone has any thoughts about any aspect of this nascent project,
have at it, don't wait for someone else to start.

Caleb Fidecaro

Oct 31, 2010, 7:13:53 PM10/31/10
to Better School Websites
Feel free to take the helm Michael :) To be honest, I'm probably a
little over my head here at the moment in terms of time commitment,
but I'm more than happy to participate in the discussion and offer any
ideas I may have, for what they're worth.


Oct 31, 2010, 8:24:55 PM10/31/10
to Better School Websites
Well, I learned something: "reply to author" means just that, and it
doesn't post here! Anyhow, I posted my appreciation for allowing me to
forge ahead, and said that this is a group effort more than anything


Nov 7, 2010, 10:52:08 PM11/7/10
to Better School Websites
I've made the pages of this site editable by all members. Don't wait
for me or Caleb, if you have contributions, have at it! :)
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